Protecting Michigan's Agriculture

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Agriculture is a $71 billion business in Michigan, recognized by many as the second strongest industry in the State.

"There's huge global demand for commodities and for many of those grown here in Michigan. We're looking to build on success of 2010 into 2011," said Dave Armstrong, the CEO of Greenstone Farm Creditors.

All economic ups and downs loudly resonate from farms to fridges.

The dairy industry went through severe economic losses in 2009. 2010 was a year where we kind of got our feet back under us again," said dairy farmer and Michigan Dairy Association President Ken Nobis.

Nobis was at the agricultural conference at the Lansing Center on Tuesday. He says not enough safeguards are in place to protect the industry.

"2011 doesn't look real optimistic for dairy because of the costs to produce milk," said Nobis.

Senator Debbie Stabenow is the new chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee. She spoke at the conference ensuring that she is there to fight for Michigan.

"My job is to help you be successful ---- when to get the government out of the way and when to be a partner," said Stabenow.

Industry experts say, a quarter of all jobs in Michigan are in the agriculture business, which is dependent on all the tractors and trucks on display here, and is why Senator Stabenow says the farm bill is at the top of her agenda.

"This is about jobs and the economy. The farm bill is a jobs bill," said Sen. Stabenow.

The farm bill is a five year federal spending bill for the agriculture industry that expires in 2012. Stabenow says it has great benefit for Michigan but renewing it is without challenges.

"Our biggest challenge is the overall budget and deficit and making sure we're doing our part, making sure we're fiscally responsible," said Stabenow

Stabenow says in the next few weeks she will be holding a hearing on the farm bill to gauge reaction on its effectiveness.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2011 at 02:15 PM
    If Mich grows it then prices should be kept way down.I just want to thank all those who give to local food banks.You don't know how much real fresh produce is needed.Look at prices in stores.So many can't afford.I have watched food go up &up in just a few short years.If people can't afford to eat healthy and balanced meals,then they eat what they can{fillers}.So they wonder why so many americans are over weight?No keep our food prices going up to make fuel out of corn,keep sending food over seas,and keep high gas prices and let everything continue to go up in price.The poor farmer won't be getting rich either.As more go without food and needed things.While so many of our jobs have left this country and left us in big messes.The upper gov ones stay rich.No matter what else happens.Where is there big pay cut?????????????????????
  • by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2011 at 07:54 AM
    Specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, greenhouse, nursery, etc) have not in the past and do not now receive subsidies. Michigan is the #2 specialty crop state in the nation (after California). Senator Stabenow authored and was instrumental in the inclusion of the Specialty Crop provisions in the last Farm Bill. Instead of subsidies, the specialty crop provisions focus on programs that grow demand and build the long-term competitiveness, sustainability, and preserve the survival of the specialty crop industry which represents more than half of the farm-gate receipts in the United States.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2011 at 09:51 PM
    If you get government out of providing subsidies to these farmers, prices across the board would drop and stabilize and the US would be more competitive in the international market.
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